Joshua William Collingsworth, born November 30, 2005, was the beloved son of Blake and Kathy Collingsworth. Joshua was taken to heaven on June 4, 2008. His infectious smile and sweet nature made him a gift to everyone he touched. He was truly a blessing, always ready to give a wet kiss and a warm hug.
Blake Collingsworth never wanted to be the person reminding people it can happen to them.
That all it takes is one second, and your child can slip out of your sight.
“Everybody thinks they know, but they’ve got to remind themselves over and over,” he said. “It’s amazing, with kids, how fast it can happen.”
Collingsworth’s two-and-a-half year old son, Joshua, wandered outside Sunday evening during a family get-together at the Collingsworth home near Wilderness Ridge.
His family had barely had time to realize he had slipped away when they found him floating in the backyard pool.
Joshua was not breathing, and family members gave him CPR until an ambulance arrived to rush him to Bryan LGH Medical Center West.
He was flown by medical helicopter to a Children’s Hospital in Omaha, where he died, surrounded by family.
He adored his older brother, Connor, and Connor was very protective of Joshua.
“Josh wanted to do anything his brother did,” Collingsworth said. “If Connor jumped off a rock, Joshua would be climbing up that rock.”
Recently, Joshua was being given intravenous antibiotics for 30 minutes every morning and every night to treat a sinus infection he’d had since November.
“But the kid never fussed about it,” Collingsworth said. “He’d sit there and take his I.V. for 30 minutes and watch SpongeBob.
“He was a real trouper about it …. you wouldn’t have known he was sick.”
Joshua was fortunate to have a large extended family with lots of cousins the same age. One set of grandparents live next door and the other pair live two blocks away.
Family had been over at the house swimming on Sunday, Collingsworth said. Everyone had just gotten out of the pool and gone inside to eat when they noticed Joshua wasn’t there.
Collingsworth, who was upstairs in his home office, heard his wife, Kathy, call to him to ask if he’d seen Joshua, he recalled.
Seconds later, “I heard her scream and all hell broke loose,” he said.
When the family first decided to put in a pool, Collingsworth didn’t spare any expense on safety, he said. He always made sure the pool was covered and the gate was shut when no one was swimming.
“I felt like we had taken every precaution we could take,” he said.
More people had been on their way over to swim, and Collingsworth, who was inside, didn’t realize everyone had gotten out of the pool, he said.
Joshua always wore a life preserver around the pool, and he was not likely to jump in or be a daredevil, his father said.
The loss of a child is one of the most unbearable of life’s sorrows – something hard to imagine surviving. Blake and Kathy, overwhelmed by grief, relied on their community for support. That love carried them through the most challenging time of their lives. Then, with all the courage they could muster, they decided to act. They founded Josh the Otter to dedicate Joshua’s life to love, generosity, water safety education, and triumph. Josh’s legacy is saving lives.